The future of the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center (SRMVC) in Bonham is unknown as the Veterans Affairs Department on Monday recommended closing a dozen of its hospital, including Bonham, in its most recent Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission report.
Building direct replacements for these hospitals has not been recommended by the VA, however, it would build nine new facilities as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul its health care network.
“VA came to these recommendations by asking ourselves one question above all else: what’s best for the Veterans we serve? Because that is our number one goal, today and every day. That’s what our Asset and Infrastructure Review recommendations are all about,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We’ve spent the last several weeks and months communicating about this with VA employees, union partners, state partners, Veteran service organizations, Congress, and more. I’m continuing to consult with our unions, and will do so moving forward, because I so appreciate the strong partnership we have with them.”
Citing declining populations, demographic changes, decrepit conditions and difficulty in recruiting to justify its proposed closures, the VA in Bonham along with hospitals in in Coatesville, Pa.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Castle Point, N.Y.; Hampton, Va.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Alexandria, La.; Bonham, Texas, Muskogee, Okla.; Northampton, Mass.; Hot Springs, S.D.; and possibly Fort Meade, S.D. are slated for closure under VA’s plan.
According to its website, SRMVC provides a full range of primary and geriatric care programs as well as outpatient mental health services to Veterans in North Texas and Sothern Oklahoma.
The hospital has over 600 employees and has the largest payroll in Fannin County with approximately 400 volunteers who give their time and energy to help in many areas.
In addition to closing the above hospitals, the VA is also recommending it close 172, or about 21%, of its more than 800 outpatient clinics. It would partly offset those closures by increasing its medical specialty clinics by 56%, to 388, and boosting reliance on private sector providers.
While VA did not get into specifics of the impact on workers who would be displaced under its plan, it offered some details on its plan to recruit new staff and retain its existing personnel.
“If approved, these recommendations would also invest heavily in VA employees, who are VA’s number one asset,” the department said. “After years of working in outdated facilities, VA employees would finally be able to work in modern facilities with the modern tools they need to deliver on the mission they so diligently strive to execute every day. These investments would result in better working conditions for those employees, and better care for the veterans they serve.”
To read more about the recommendations of the VA, click here